New CIoT president Coleclough criticises government over EU

THE UK MUST MOVE AWAY from its “slapdash approach” to Europe, the new president of the CIoT said in his inaugural speech.

A “more serious, grown-up approach from government to complying with EU tax law”, Stephen Coleclough said, adding that “too often the UK government acts too late or does too little, and fails in its responsibilities”.

A case in point, Coleclough said, is the latest Finance Bill, which contains five provisions specifically designed to ensure UK compliance with EU law. However, experts on the Institute’s EU & Human Rights Sub-committee have expressed concern that at least four of those provisions will fail, a state of affairs Coleclough described as “crazy”.

“This slapdash approach to complying with rules that we help set, and which help ensure that the single market can operate fairly, is failing UK taxpayers. It needs to change,” he said.

On HM Revenue & Customs, Coleclough told members he is “not fully convinced” the department “really understands its obligations to keep taxpayers’ information confidential”.

He said: “Taxpayers have a right to a private life, which means that while they are obliged to disclose information required for their tax obligations, they are entitled to refuse to answer questions which go far beyond this.

“The job of the CIOT, and of myself as President, is to help HMRC as much as we can to achieve a fair and balanced regime which deals with all of the many issues coming out of what really is a brave new world.”

Coleclough is qualified as a solicitor and is a partner in indirect taxes at PwC, having joined in 1997. Prior to that, he was head of corporate and indirect taxes at Simmons & Simmons. He was chairman of the CIoT’s Technical Committee from May 2005 to May 2008.

Between 2008 and 2012 he was president of the Confédération Fiscale Européenne, the body of European tax advisers, which embraces 33 national organisations from 24 European States, representing more than 180,000 tax advisers.

The new CIoT deputy president, replacing Coleclough, is Anne Fairpo. Fairpo is a barrister at 13 Old Square Chambers and Atlas Chambers, focussing on taxation of intellectual property, international tax issues and employment tax advice. She is also chair of the institute’s Education Committee.

Replacing Fairpo as vice president is Chris Jones, director of tax markets and learning solutions for LexisNexis UK & Ireland.

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